April 6, 2009

Stanley Fish on the Ward Churchill verdict.

"The verdict did not surprise me because I had read the committee’s report and found it less an indictment of Churchill than an example of a perfectly ordinary squabble about research methods and the handling of evidence. The accusations that fill its pages are the kind scholars regularly hurl at their polemical opponents. It’s part of the game. But in most cases, after you’ve trashed the guy’s work in a book or a review, you don’t get to fire him. Which is good, because if the standards for dismissal adopted by the Churchill committee were generally in force, hardly any of us professors would have jobs."

77 comments:

rhhardin said...

Today's professors having jobs puts a strain on the word in the first place.

It's not impossible for a professor to have a job but the word has to be versatile.

mporcius said...

Sad but true, at least in my experience in history and the social sciences; the profs just assert whatever they feel like and get grad students and other underlings to make a half-hearted hunt for some kind of vaguely applicable evidence.

rhhardin said...

Difficult Derrida lecture on professing (real audio), but some of the side evidence on professing might be enlightening.

fcai said...

It says "hardly any of us professors would have jobs."

I think that is a good idea. I can think of 88 profs at Duke who should be unemployed.

Paddy O. said...

"hardly any of us professors would have jobs."

is this the advanced version of grade inflation? maybe there should be less professors, and academic standards should be more than idealistic dreams to be mastered in grad school then ignored. Professors should be held to their own standards by their peers, or there results a complete undermining of the whole academic enterprise. Plus, if professors lose their jobs for not living up to their own standards they insist on their students, then that would leave a lot more job opportunities for up and coming PhDs to step in and have contributing careers with appropriately rigorous scholarship.

Everyone wins. Except for the lazy or inept.

David said...

Now that is a masterful essay. I hope someone (someone who is a better teacher than Ward Churchill) does follow up on the idea of building a course around it.

The lesson is pretty simple. A tenured academic can say just about anything and not get fired, even if it is hopelessly stupid and wrongheaded, even if a reasonable person might consider it intellectually dishonest or even fraudulent. This is not a bad thing, though the viability of the concept suffers these days because of the lack of diversity of viewpoint on too many campuses. (This was not true in the Ward case, at least after he made the 9/11 comment.)

Consider the politicians. They lie regularly say things that are either highly misleading or demonstrably false. It's expected conduct.

1990bluejay said...

The problem is that the sloppiness that Churchill exhibited was allowed to go on far too long since his ideology was accepted if not tolerated. If he had been junior faculty, with some of these charges - career over. Or, if the peer reviewers were actually critical in a way that mattered. Also, CU's attorney was awful from the accounts I've read.

I remember one prof in grad school having us read some turkey of a paper about a transcendental mediation effect having a positive impact of the rate of violence in Israel during the 1990s. I was in one of the well known international relations journals and was a completely idiotic paper. The 3 days that violence was down? You guessed it - Friday, Saturday and Sunday - the holy days of Islam, Judaism and Christianity. Geez, you think there was a drop for any other reason than a yogi's followers doing mediation in hotel ballroom? The following week's class had the inevitable rebuttal article tearing this one to shreds methodologically and theoretically. The upshot - the two profs who penned the original article were faculty at this yogi's university in India! Arghhh! Make me wonder my career choice for academia though it was a fabulous exercise in spurious correlation and non-critical reading.

Zeb Quinn said...

I think he's failing to acknowledge what a thorough fraud Churchill is.

PatCA said...

Fish may be technically correct that the university had no basis to fire Churchill. I really don't care--there would still be hundreds, thousands, more "scholars" just like Churchill still working. What is significant is that it's most leftist BS that is protected; rightist BS is not even permitted. If they had fired Churchill, it would have been the first crack in the whole humanities rotten infrastructure, and we are not quite ready for that.

William said...

If John Yoo should wish to leave his present position, my guess is that he would not be offered tenure at any law school in the country. If he were even offered a lectureship post, there would be huge protests......Academics form a protective herd bubble around jerks like Ward Churchill. Someone who enunciates a non herd opinion--Larry Sumners comes to mind--are pushed to the fringes....This is not an example of principled support of free speech but rather of the groupthink of a herd that wishes to remain a herd.

traditionalguy said...

What he is acknowledging is that being a clown is the job at a circus. In their heart Academics realise that for them Truth is a moving target. So don't expect them to shoot a Possible with the conditions of the speed of change in who is the favored Victim Group being identified for society's conscience to emote over in the Storyline de Jour.

Joe said...

Overall, I'd say the best teachers I had at college weren't [titled] professors.

(The exceptions proved the rule in more than one way; they radically departed from the bureaucratic norms and did things their own way.)

Chip Ahoy said...

Why wasn't a case built around his misrepresentation about himself? He's holding a position intended for a native American. He has that position by pretending to be one, so that a real native American doesn't have that position because he's holding it. Which means he's hurting the people he purports to be helping.

Plus he is unoriginal. He has plagiarized his writing and his art.

Being leftist is not a crime. Poisoning the minds of impressionable youth with misinformation (infected blankets and such) is not a crime. Misrepresenting yourself on your resume still seems to me a fire-able offense if not a crime, IMHO. They should have built a better case.

Paul Zrimsek said...

There's no such thing as academic freedom, and it's a good thing, too.

Christy said...

Fish is just confirming that standards are not high for a career in academia. Sinecures abound.

Don't feel for Summers, he brought in $5.2 million just from his day job last year.

Quayle said...

I'm fine with the verdict. Ward Churchill and the University of Colorado deserve each other.

jdeeripper said...

Chip Ahoy said...Why wasn't a case built around his misrepresentation about himself? He's holding a position intended for a native American.

That's what I've been saying. And why don't people just come right out and say he's a racist? He's a White man playing at being an American Indian, falsifying both American history as well as his own personal history.

He's stealing an academic position from someone of American Indian ancestry. So he's a liar and a racist. Fire him.

paul a'barge said...

hardly any of us professors would have jobs

Hope springs eternal.

Faster, please.

Bob R said...

The people who should have been (should be) punished were (are) the administrators who sidestepped all of the usual peer review process when they hired, promoted, and tenured him. When the whole discipline is a con game you shouldn't be surprised the professor is a con man.

The Drill SGT said...

too bad Benjamin Nighthorse Campbell is still in DC, He'd make a decent replacement in the dpartment :)

PatCA said...

Chip Ahoy said...Why wasn't a case built around his misrepresentation about himself? He's holding a position intended for a native American.

Because, as I've said, so much of the race grievance academic industry is based on misrepresentation, and no one wants to address that.

Revenant said...

Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't they find that Churchill had fabricated articles under assumed names? If that sort of behavior is common among professors then maybe we SHOULD fire most of them.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't they find that Churchill had fabricated articles under assumed names?

That was my understanding as well. If tenure means you can't be fired despite evidence showing you to be a fraud and a cheat, then perhaps tenure has outlived it's usefulness.

Peter V. Bella said...

And why don't people just come right out and say he's a racist?

The last time I checked, the Constitution protected speech and expression, no matter how distasteful, as long as said expression did not directly violate the rights of others or was criminal in nature. There are Black professors and Ivy League institutions who are public, unabashed racists; they still hold tenure. Some are noteworthy.

Racism is protected expression and speech, unless it used to deny or violate the rights of others. Whether we like it or not. Just ask Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Louis Farrakan, and David Duke.

If the University were serious about firing Churchill, they would have put on a better case. From everything that has been written, the case was poorly presented and the evidence was not overwhelming. The University and/or their attorneys are to blame.

Jeremy said...

"What is significant is that it's most leftist BS that is protected; rightist BS is not even permitted."

Right.

Kind of like whatever the 150 graduates of Pat Robertson's Regent University who got jobs as U.S. Attorneys were listening to?

Jeremy said...

"Fish may be technically correct that the university had no basis to fire Churchill."

Well, that's apparently what the court felt, too.

Jeremy said...

I always find the comments here, that almost always relate to university professors being dullards or leftists or thoroughly unqualified to teach...on a blog site overseen by a college professor.

Strange indeed.

I attended and graduated from a major university and (at least in my estimation) some of my professors were really good, some average and some downright poor, but I never thought of the entire bunch as being such low-class characters as depicted here.

What if the professor were a "leftist," but really good at his job?

Does that count?

Revenant said...

That was my understanding as well. If tenure means you can't be fired despite evidence showing you to be a fraud and a cheat, then perhaps tenure has outlived it's usefulness.

I've never seen any evidence that tenure was useful to begin with, in the sense of actually improving the quality of research or education. So far as I can tell it was just a way to attract employees for lower salaries by offering guaranteed employment. This generally gets you mediocre employees, because the good ones don't need the guarantee.

Jeremy said...

Tenure can be good and it can be bad.

It can also provides the university with protection against a very good or highly sought after professor from jumping from one university to another.

My wife and I talked about this the other night and neither of us remember our professors to be such horrible characters as described by some here.

I can't think of a single industry in which all employees are excellent or even good, and long-term employee contracts are common.

SGT Ted said...

This is why I am spending my GI Bill money at a tech school learning how to repair motorcycles; No one like Ward Churchill could ever be hired there, much less get tenure. How much of "higher education" is out and out fraud and a con game like this and how much money is wasted paying jackasses like Churchill?

Pogo said...

`When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, `it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less.'

`The question is,' said Alice, `whether you can make words mean so many different things.'

`The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, `which is to be master - - that's all.'




The very same arguments in support of complete bullshit permitted the liar loans and fake AAA ratings and complex financial vehicles which were nothing but fraud by numerous banks.

The refusal to accept reality as an argument against certain points of view have fully exposed the complete victory of the left not only in academia, but in finance and politics.

The people who are still willing to call things real or unreal, shit or shinola, are ever fewer, and none are in positions of power.

The problem with bullshit is that it may argue that gravity is a mere social construct, but the ground stays hard. And fake medicine and fake architecture and fake finance have real consequences, as we are discovering.

Fake college courses and their fake professors may seem a minor event, but it is representative of the major victory of the left, having won the hearts and minds of the young.

We need a modern Renaissance out of this Era of Complete Bullshit. Until then, I feel like a minor Galileo, muttering "Eppur si muove".

Jeremy said...

Pogo - "Fake college courses and their fake professors may seem a minor event, but it is representative of the major victory of the left, having won the hearts and minds of the young."

What are these "fake college courses" of which you speak?

I have no idea if you attended a major university, public or private, but were you offered what you consider to be "fake" courses?

It's one thing to say the professor was no very good or even downright poor, but the course itself was "fake?"

And what in the world does this mean: "The problem with bullshit is that it may argue that gravity is a mere social construct, but the ground stays hard."

The ground being hard has something to do with gravity?

Pogo said...

Yes, Jeremy, fake.

"What are these "fake college courses" of which you speak?"
Every course and writing by Ward Churchill was, for example, bullshit and fake.

"...were you offered what you consider to be "fake" courses?"
Yes. My daughter also took bullshit courses.

Your ignorance of this common problem is quite alarming.

"The ground being hard has something to do with gravity?"
May I suggest a brief experiment, involving a nearby window and your head?

Laura(southernxyl) said...

I don't know what Pogo means about "fake" college courses. And naturally people may disagree with me. But go to, for example, yale.edu and look at the women's studies courses. And check this out. (The "Laura" in the comments is me.) IMO, fake as a three-dollar bill. YMMV.

Laura(southernxyl) said...

Well, Pogo got in before me but I agree with his comment.

PatCA said...

Did you ever have a professor who was a Republican or on the right, Jeremy?

Jeremy said...

Pogo - When you say - "Your ignorance of this common problem is quite alarming."

I have no idea what you're inferring.

Give me an example of a "bullshit" or "fake" course offered at a major university.

Every course I took was either an elective or a course that was required for a degree.

Some of the elective courses weren't as good or instructive as I would have liked, but I can't name one that was "fake."

The others were required to get your degree.

Jeremy said...

PatCA said..."Did you ever have a professor who was a Republican or on the right, Jeremy?"

You're kidding, right? (no pun intended)

First of all I never asked what my professor's politics were, unless it was a political science course...and I have absolutely no idea what a professor's politics would enter into a math, science, or even most business courses.

They could certainly try to inject their beliefs but no, I did not find that to be a huge problem.

Where did you go to school??

traditionalguy said...

Pogo... You got it right again.The first casualty of the War on Traditional Values that the counter-culture declared during the 1964 to 1969 era of anti-war, anti-establishment, and anti-morality, was Truth about anything. The propaganda (mind control) forces employed by the counter-culture activists first discredited all Traditional Values as outdated restrictions. Next having forgotten the truth that those values were based upon, the culture today bows without a fight to PETA fantasies and to Enviro Erzatz Science predictions. If we do not recover a love for truth, then everyone's delusions will seem equally entitle to full acceptance. Ward Churchill is smarter than we want to admit.

Joe said...

Jeremy, to be offer a accredited bachelors degree in the US, a college or university must require that you take what can only be described as bullshit classes. Now they aren't fake in the sense of being non-existent, but they certainly are fake in the sense of adding to your knowledge, ability to contribute to society or earning power in any meaningful way.

Jeremy said...

Laura - What you use as an example is an "elective" course or study, just like basket weaving or in my case, "The Fundamentals of Religion," which was offered as an elective at my university, and it was not a religion-based university.

Unless your major relates to women's studies or some form of human (female) behavior, etc. the course you mention would not be required.

Just because YOU don't agree with the premise of the course certainly doesn't mean that it's "bullshit" or "fake" to those who consider it important.

Some people read nothing but fiction, others non-fiction. Some read mysteries some read science fiction.

Which is "fake" or important or relevant and which is not?'

It's all subjective.

Pogo said...

I have no idea what you're inferring.

I am not "inferring" anything (did you mean implying? Insinuating?).

I am stating it flat out. There are course in college that are total bullshit and fake. Entire disciplines that are bogus; completely worthless pieces of crap.

Women's Studies has been mentioned. Queer studies and any other ethnic or race major is almost always a complete and utter fake.

Education degrees are now almost total crap.

How about these by name?

"Princeton University’s The Cultural Production of Early Modern Women examines “prostitutes,” “cross-dressing,” and “same-sex eroticism” in 16th - and 17th - century England, France, Italy and Spain (emphasis added).

The Unbearable Whiteness of Barbie: Race and Popular Culture in the United States at Occidental College in California explores ways “which scientific racism has been put to use in the making of Barbie [and] to an interpretation of the film The Matrix as a Marxist critique of capitalism.”

At The John Hopkins University, students in the Sex, Drugs, and Rock ‘n’ Roll in Ancient Egypt class view slideshows of women in ancient Egypt “vomiting on each other,” “having intercourse,” and “fixing their hair.”

Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania offers the class Lesbian Novels Since World War II.

Alfred University’s Nip, Tuck, Perm, Pierce, and Tattoo: Adventures with Embodied Culture, mostly made up of women, encourages students to think about the meaning behind “teeth whitening, tanning, shaving, and hair dyeing.” Special projects include visiting a tattoo-and-piercing studio and watching Arnold Schwarzenegger’s bodybuilding film, Pumping Iron.

Harvard University’s Marxist Concepts of Racism examines “the role of capitalist development and expansion in creating racial inequality” (emphasis added). Although Karl Marx didn’t say much on race, leftist professors in this course extrapolate information on “racial oppression” and “racial antagonism.”

Occidental College offers a course in Stupidity, which compares the American presidency to Beavis and Butthead.

Students at the University of California—Los Angeles need not wonder what it means to be a lesbian. The Psychology of the Lesbian Experience reviews “various aspects of lesbian experience” including the “impact of heterosexism/stigma, gender role socialization, minority status of women and lesbians, identity development within a multicultural society, changes in psychological theories about lesbians in sociohistorical context.”

Duke University’s American Dreams/American Realities course supposedly unearths “such myths as ‘rags to riches,’ ‘beacon to the world,’ and the ‘frontier,’ in defining the American character” (emphasis added).

Amherst College in Massachusetts offers the class Taking Marx Seriously: “Should Marx be given another chance?” Students in this course are asked to question if Marxism still has any “credibility” remaining, while also inquiring if societies can gain new insights by “returning to [Marx’s] texts.” Coming to Marx’s rescue, this course also states that Lenin, Stalin, and Pol Pot misapplied the concepts of Marxism.

Brown University’s Black Lavender: A Study of Black Gay & Lesbian Plays “address[es] the identities and issues of Black gay men and lesbians, and offer[s] various points of view from within and without the Black gay and lesbian artistic communities.”

Students enrolled in the University of Michigan’s Topics in Literary Studies: Ancient Greek/Modern Gay Sexuality have the pleasure of reading a “wide selection of ancient Greek (and a few Roman) texts that deal with same-sex love, desire, gender dissidence, and sexual behavior."

Pogo said...

"Just because YOU don't agree with the premise of the course certainly doesn't mean that it's "bullshit" or "fake" to those who consider it important."

Actually, yes it does.
I don't really give a damn if some fool thinks it's important. That doesn't make it real.

I call bullshit on these courses and these majors. They're fake, bogus, worthless, fool's gold, nothingness on a stick.

Jeremy said...

Pogo - All you're doing is mentioning course with which you either don't agree or just don't find important...to YOU.

That doesn't make the course "fake" or "bullshit" in any way.

Sgt. Ted's taking a course in motocycle repairs and there are people who think motorcycles are death traps, but I can't imagine them also thinking the course was "bullshit." They just aren't interested.

You're letting your "politics" enter into an area that it's not relevant. As I said before it's all "subjective."

And, a few examples:

"The Cultural Production of Early Modern Women" course may be quite instructive to someone studying psychology.

And why you would think "Taking Marx Seriously: “Should Marx be given another chance?” wouldn't be relevant to a political science or economics major?

"Black Lavender: A Study of Black Gay & Lesbian Plays" would be a course someone interested in drama would certainly elect to take...the key word being "elect."

I would be surprised if all of the courses you mention aren't "elective" and not mandatory.

Did you attend college?

There are literally 1,000's of elective courses offered all over the country, catering to every person's interest or need.

Jeremy said...

Pogo - I just noticed you work in the "science" industry...and you don't think there are courses or studies that many might consider to be "bullshit" that turn into or lead to major scientific discoveries??

Really?

fcai said...

________ studies are all bullshit. Fill in the blank. Total useless crap. Sure, you can study that garbage then teach that garbage, but it's still garbage.

Laura(southernxyl) said...

"Blogger Jeremy said...

Laura - What you use as an example is an "elective" course or study, just like basket weaving or in my case, "The Fundamentals of Religion," which was offered as an elective at my university, and it was not a religion-based university.

Unless your major relates to women's studies or some form of human (female) behavior, etc. the course you mention would not be required."

I didn't read Pogo or myself as saying all college courses are fake or that all college students are required to take fake courses - although at some colleges that may be the case. I still contend that there is some crap out there that gets serious consideration at universities.

"Just because YOU don't agree with the premise of the course certainly doesn't mean that it's "bullshit" or "fake" to those who consider it important."

I believe I said that. "And naturally people may disagree with me. ... IMO ... YMMV."

Jeremy said...

fcai said..."________ studies are all bullshit. Fill in the blank. Total useless crap. Sure, you can study that garbage then teach that garbage, but it's still garbage."

What you really mean is this: If YOU don't think it's important, it's "garbage."

But let's fill in your blank with: "conservative."

Garbage?

I have the distinct feeling I'm discussing this with people who never attended college and if they did I have no idea what in the world they think universities are supposed to do.

Jeremy said...

Laura - "I still contend that there is some crap out there that gets serious consideration at universities."

No kidding?

Just as there are books and films that win awards, huge readership and viewership are "crap."

And if you think so, just don't take the course, read the book or watch the movie.

fcai said...

Wrongo, bunky, fill in the blank with "Liberal elitist fucktard" and you will have the answer.

Somehow you think a course run by any of the Duke 88 is useful - that, I think, makes you a useful idiot, so called by your hero Uncle Joe Stalin.

Back to the deficit mines with you, boy.

PatCA said...

"It's all subjective."

I agree, and I also agree that most humanities courses skew to the left and have little or no scholarly value.

Pogo,
Don't forget whiteness studies!

Peter V. Bella said...

Jeremy said…
I have no idea what you're inferring.

This is your common refrain for just about everything. Evidently you are a person without ideas; or a clue.

Most of these courses, if one can even call them that, are political in nature and were placed in the curriculum to placate political groups.

Does Yale have courses on Conservative studies? Does Harvard have courses in heterosexual culture? Does Howard University have a class on White Studies? Does Emory College have a class on reverse discrimination? Does Princeton offer classes in Men's studies?

These classes would be just as fake as the ones offered to appease the agenda people.

I wonder how many of these fake classes were or are funded with government grants?

Laura(southernxyl) said...

Jeremy said...

Pogo - "Fake college courses and their fake professors may seem a minor event, but it is representative of the major victory of the left, having won the hearts and minds of the young."

What are these "fake college courses" of which you speak?

I have no idea if you attended a major university, public or private, but were you offered what you consider to be "fake" courses?

It's one thing to say the professor was no very good or even downright poor, but the course itself was "fake?"


and then

Blogger Jeremy said...

Laura - "I still contend that there is some crap out there that gets serious consideration at universities."

No kidding?

Just as there are books and films that win awards, huge readership and viewership are "crap."


Well, I would consider "fake" and "crap" in this context to be virtually synonymous. If you don't then your hair-splitting skills are superior to mine.

Jeremy said...

Laura, I appreciate the fact that you're trying to mount a defense of Pogo's theory, but why not post a list of all of the "crap" or "fake" courses and why other people might not consider them to be such?

I have to assume you believe anything you don't like or consider important to YOU...must be crap or fake.

None of what Pogo or you are posting even makes sense to anybody who has ever attended college and elected to take courses not necessarily of interest to EVERYBODY.

Jeremy said...

Peter - "Does Yale have courses on Conservative studies?"

You don't really believe Yale, Harvard, or Wisconsin University do not offer a wide range of course studies than encompass all kinds of views and opinions...do you?

Byt the way: Scalia / Harvard - Alito / Yale

What were they thinking?

And I love this:

PatCA said..."I also agree that most humanities courses skew to the left and have little or no scholarly value."

Some do, and some don't but are you really saying that the study of "humanities" is a waste of time? (Have you run this by an Indian or a black?)

Good lord where did you people go to school??

Laura(southernxyl) said...

"None of what Pogo or you are posting even makes sense to anybody who has ever attended college and elected to take courses not necessarily of interest to EVERYBODY."

1 - I attended college.

2 - I elected to take courses not necessarily of interest to EVERYBODY (e.g., fencing; topology; biochemistry)

3 - Pogo's and my comments make sense to me.

Pogo said...

Here's a clue, Jeremy.

If the only job you can get based on a major in these courses is a job teaching these courses, it's fake.

Whether a topic is "interesting" or even "important" matters not at all as to whether it is fake or not.

"There are literally 1,000's of elective courses offered all over the country, catering to every person's interest or need."
And the majority are a total waste of time for the learner.

"...course[s] with which you either don't agree or just don't find important...to YOU.
That doesn't make the course "fake" or "bullshit" in any way."


Yes, it does. That statement is pure relativistic nonsense, the very basis of fake college courses.

You, boy, have been infected. Get thee behind me.

Pogo said...

"are you really saying that the study of "humanities" is a waste of time?"

Yup. Mostly bullshit, taught by expert bullshitters.

kynefski said...

Before anybody defends Churchill, they should acknowledge having read the report.

Then explain how such gross dishonesty is somehow trivial.

ObamaNation said...

Yeah, you tell them, Jeremy. Next these Rethuglicans will start denigrating my BA in Womyn's Studies, or my master's in Queer Sciences, or my thesis topic: "Stuffing Things Up My Squeakhole to Get Back at My Father."

Small-minded fascists!!!11!!eleventy!!!! I bet you never even went to college, you inbred hillbillies!!!

ObamaNation said...

Or you went to some lowly trade school, or engineering school (just a 4 year trade school), and took infantile courses like "physics" (how literal can you get?), so that you could learn how to "make" your little "products", so that you could sell them for money and use half of it to attend tractor pulls, and the other half to oppress minorities, and queers, and queer minorities.

Where would you people be without us liberal arts majors?

Pogo said...

" Jeremy said...and you don't think there are courses or studies that many might consider to be "bullshit" that turn into or lead to major scientific discoveries??"

That's the point.
There are standards by which to evaluate whether science topics or courses are BS or not.

Your BS college crap has no such standards, and is therfore fake.

Trooper York said...

I would just like to know if Mr. Fish really needs a bicycle?

Peter V. Bella said...

Does professor Fish eat Stanley tacos?

dick said...

Jeremy may be interested in some of those courses but look at it this way. Every one of those courses that are only good to those who want to major in, say Womyn's Studies, and then find the only use is to teach those courses raises the cost of the education for all. If you have x amount of dollars and you can spend it on subjects that are useful to society or you can spread it over subjects that are useful to society plus also spend it on these nonsense courses, then you will have fewer dollars to spend on useful subjects. To then give true value to the useful subjects you must raise the tuition and other expenses to make up the difference. Someone somewhere is paying for all this krep. You may have had a scholarship to pay your way but the money still had to be expended to offer this krep.

If you are that interested in studying the Womyn's Studies, then get a syllabus and work your way through it. Teach yourself. Just don't expect those of us who went to college and got useful degrees to want to pay your way.

Revenant said...

What's the path by which the study of English Literature might lead to a major scientific breakthrough? Or even a minor scientific breakthrough? Or any improvement in human life at all, actually?

I can see how literature has value. But that's because of the people who write it, not because of the people who analyze it. An author stands or falls on his own merits no matter what the PhD's of the world think of him.

PatCA said...

You win, Jeremy. It's all good! Free to be you and me! We're all the same, aren't we? Rainbows.

Duscany said...

Quayle: "I'm fine with the verdict. Ward Churchill and the University of Colorado deserve each other."

Probably true, but his students decidedly don't deserve a professor who take's someone else's painting of Indians on horses, makes an exact mirror image, then passes it off as his own original work.

John Lynch said...

Yeah, it's not fair to suddenly impose standards that didn't exist before.

The problem is that CU hires people like Churchill in the first place, and gives them tenure. THAT's what the public is mad about.

fcai said...

ObamaNation asks "Where would you people be without us liberal arts majors?"

I guess we would have to fetch our own french fries or pour our own coffee.

It is fun to dream of that world, actually...

Peter V. Bella said...

In the grand scheme of things what does any of this have to do with eating waffles?

Steven said...

Ward Churchill was not merely found by the committee to have written articles under assumed names which he subsequently cited in his own papers, he admitted it in open court. Stanley Fish, in the linked article, tries to downplay the seriousness of using fraudulent names in order to create the illusion of academic support.

If Mr. Fish is speaking the truth, and general application of the standards for dismissal adopted by the Churchill committee would drive them from their jobs, then there is no other conclusion than that it is vitally necessary to strip most professors of their jobs. Such widespread corruption is an active danger to everyone, immediately in the sciences and engineering, while on a longer-term scale in business and law.

I prefer to believe that Mr. Fish is basically wrong about his fellow professors. Hopefully, I'm not deluding myself.

Simon Kenton said...

Pogo wrote:

"Every course and writing by Ward Churchill was, for example, bullshit and fake."

While this is probably true as a generalization, it is certainly true about the course one of my sons took from Churchill, whom he termed "a complete tool."

This stuff is an analog to CCC makework. The 'studies' departments would die out for lack of students, and do die out whenever the students are not compelled to take their classes. Some of this is owed to the nascent good sense of the students, and some to the irascibility of fathers like I, who told his kids, "I do not pay for Cs and I do not pay for useless degrees." So the universities make electives compulsory. The parallel with government-managed markets is intended, or as the graduate Jeremy would say, 'inferred.'

Kev said...

Overall, I'd say the best teachers I had at college weren't [titled] professors.

(The exceptions proved the rule in more than one way; they radically departed from the bureaucratic norms and did things their own way.)


All the more reason to get rid of the bureaucratic norms. Requiring every administrator to teach a class would go a long way toward accomplishing this.

________ studies are all bullshit. Fill in the blank. Total useless crap. Sure, you can study that garbage then teach that garbage, but it's still garbage.

Well, this guy here (who double-majored in jazz studies) might beg for an exception in his case, since the degree does at least allow people to produce some legitimate entertainment. But you're right--the rest of the ____studies areas do seem a bit tainted. Maybe we should go back to calling our area Jazz Education like it was called back in the day.

Iapetus said...

Stanley Fish has a convenient lapse of memory in his tendentious essay.

Ward Churchill was charged with plagiarism and found guilty by the CU faculty investigative committee of having stolen the work of Prof. Fay G. Cohen of Dalhousie University and of having published it in a book edited by his wife. Accounts that I recall reading at the time also appear in Wikipedia: "... an assessment by legal counsel at Dalhousie concluded that Churchill indeed plagiarized Cohen's work...The CU faculty committee found Churchill's defense implausible."

In this case, the CU faculty reached the proper decision on Churchill's misconduct, the jury did not. When students blatantly plagiarize the work of others, they should be expelled. So should faculty.

kentuckyliz said...

Stanley Fish is a pomo deconstructionist queer studies wacko. Who would listen to him anyway?

Jeremy said...

Kill the professors!!!

Oh, wait.

Ann's a professor.

Now what??